The HTC 7 Pro is a handset which was announced back in October along with the other HTC Windows Phone 7 devices like the Mozart and HD7 but has only just been made available here in the UK recently and at present is the only Windows Phone 7 handset on sale here with a QWERTY keyboard.
This review device was kindly loaned to us by Clove who have the HTC 7 Pro on sale sim free and unlocked for a price of £424.80 and the link to purchase from them direct is at the bottom of this review.
The HTC 7 Pro has an impressive set of specifications which include
- Windows Mobile 7 OS
- 5 Megapixel Camera
- HSDPA 7.2mb/s
- HSUPA 2.0mb/s
- Bluetooth, WiFi & GPS
The HTC 7 Pro is a very nice piece of hardware running a brand new OS from Microsoft in Windows Phone 7. We have covered the OS in much detail already on the site so this review will be talking about the hardware only. Weighing 185g, the 7 Pro is not the lightest of phones especially when the Desire HD weighs 164g but the slide out QWERTY keyboard is the main reason for this extra bulk an well worth it too. Not only does this handset have a full QWERTY keyboard but it also has a tilted screen which snaps up on opening the keyboard.
Looking at the front you have the HTC logo with a status light at the top which is used to notify you of any missed calls, texts or emails this is green in colour so you can see it clearly in all light conditions. There is of course the speaker too where you listen to voice calls.
You then have the reasonable 3.6 inch screen which uses 480×800 pixel resolution and this does make web browsing great, also looking at photos or video content on this screen is enjoyable. The screen seems super sensitive, almost iPhone like and this helps navigate through the OS with ease
Below the screen are the three simple buttons found on any Windows Phone 7 device and these are for going back a screen, the Windows key which loads up the main start menu filled with your apps and the spyglass which is used to search using Bing.
The back of the phone has the 5 megapixel camera with LED flash but as with a lot of recent HTC devices the camera is not the strong point as you will see in images below. In fact take the camera out of perfect conditions and you will struggle to get decent images, I took a few indoors whilst at work and the image came out really dark, so much so I could only make out an outline of a person not being able to see who it was. Also video is 720p capable but as with the camera the outcome is rather poor especially compared to other devices within this price range.
There is also an issue with the software for the camera which means settings are being set back to default on leaving the camera application. So you setup to take a great image at 5 megapixel and change the scene mode, exit the camera and want to get back in again, this then needs you to set up the settings again. This is something Microsoft are looking into.
Below the camera is the speakerphone which is ok for voice calls but slightly poor in audio quality, use this for playing music and like the camera this is not enjoyable with very poor overall quality in sound which you can really tell when playing music through, using a headset makes a world of difference.
A problem with a lot of HTC phones is the camera quality either the optics or the software which between the two are not always reliable at producing the greatest of pictures. With good lighting and the proper conditions you will not have a problem at all, but if lighting is not at it’s best then you will have some trouble.
The bottom of the phone is very basic with just the small microphone hole which picks up your voice during phone calls.
At the top of the device you have a single button which is used to switch the phone on and off but also to lock the keys when not in use. You also have a very handy 3.5mm headset jack as seen on a lot of HTC devices now and this is where you can plut in a headset to listen to music. I also have a 3.5mm speaker I got free from Nokia which was tested on this phone and the sound quality was vastly improved.
The left hand side has the volume up and down buttons used for media volume and also for in voice calls, it also has the now standard MicroUSB port which is used for charging the phone as well as plugging the phone into a computer via a supplied USB cable.
The right hand side of the phone has just a single button on it which is used for loading the camera application as well as for taking the photo or recording a video clip. One good thing with the camera is that the focus happens very quickly and the image saves in about one second after fully pressing the button down, great for being able to snap photos quickly.
The keyboard is my favorite part of the 7 Pro, by far the best on a mobile phone in my mind with well spaced keys, great feedback on pressing them plus white letters on a dark grey background makes it easy to see the letters which also have a backlight for each light allowing you to use in poor lighting or night time conditions.
The hinge is very well built, especially compared to the HTC Desire Z which I recently reviewed for the site which had a really loose hinge and was poor quality, however the one on the 7 Pro is much much better and also much stronger it really does add to the overall quality of the device.
Looking at the HTC 7 Pro if I was to score out of 10 it would get a 7. Whilst Windows Phone 7 is still a great OS and has a lot of potential, the lack of multitasking when using applications is still a big issue for many people who use their phones on the move, especially for music use. Hardware wise the two main things letting the 7 Pro down are the camera quality still being quite poor when it comes to camera phones these days and with Sony Ericsson making a leap in their camera quality on the new Arc and Apple having some great optics with software on the iPhone, HTC continue to disappoint here. The other is the audio quality through the loudspeaker is quite poor. You won’t notice much in a voice call but start playing music through there and you will soon notice it.
However it is not all bad, HTC have some great hardware in place with a strong build quality and top class design, the hinge is also great and tilts the screen just enough to make the vieewing angle perfect for typing in the hands. The phone also look good, feels good and has the best keyboard I have ever used on a mobile phone so far (and I have used LOTS!).
If HTC can improve the camera optics and concentrate on audio quality in future devices they will be the one to watch going forward!.
Again a big thank you to Clove who loaned us this handset to review.
Link: Clove (HTC 7 Pro)